Spoiler Alert- It is impossible to write about Rickman without talking a bit about his movies. Sorry for spoiling the suspense but Rickman was very choosy and his movies are worth watching again and again.
Alan Rickman- Obituaries would be piling up by now in his name. But one thing we can be sure is that he will be missed. He played characters of multiple ethnicities, different eras and most of the time the viewers appreciated the character rather than the actor. Therein lies the success to Alan Rickman. As Oscar Wilde once said, the beauty of an art lies in its concealing. “You want to know more about me, my work would speak for it” said Rickman and he meant it.
A British actor groomed in theatre since his initial years, Rickman struggled in the beginning but chose the best to easy. Though he was selected as one of the sexiest actors by Empire, and he played a villain role in the Die Hard series, he deliberately stayed away from being type casted into roles. Though he had the cute face fit for a romantic hero, he played deep villain roles in BBC productions Romeo and Juliet, Therese Raquin etc. But on watching those performances, we would be surprised that he augmented and added to the depth of the characters even in the initial years. Tybalt, a minor character in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet acquires a depth of a fully developed round character with a person of his own when Rickman plays it.
Though he acted in very few movies, his performances were all distinctive. Rickman performed as the eponymous hero in the movie Rasputin. No one could have put a controversial multi-faceted character like Gregory Rasputin into perspective better than Rickman. In the movie Perfume: The Story of a Murderer he occupies hardly ten percent of the footage. Yet the twist in the climax, that the hero was actually his son, and he recognised it by the smell the son emanated- Had anybody else done the very fragile and crucial dialogue, the total effect would have been spoiled. With just three words, “Oh my son” Rickman fills the father’s love and affection that was absent throughout the movie.
The loathed Potions professor, Severus Snape from Harry Potter movies would be etched in the minds of Potterheads. How we hated him in the first books and movies? And the final book it made us cry when we knew the truth about Snape. But Rickman just made it out of the world. How he cried on seeing Lily’s body reflected the love which went unexpressed for decades. And when he said “Always” for Dumbledore’s question “Lily, after these years?”- it just shattered our hearts much more than when we read the book.
In his good bye letter to the Harry Potter team, Rickman said, “It is an ancient need to tell stories. There is more to the character Snape than just an unchanging costume.” He treated all his characters as a person, conveyed it to the people and thus becomes a book to learn for all wannabe actors.
Indeed Alan Rickman accomplished so much in a life time as a person and as an actor, And in many movies to come we would be missing had the role been played by Rickman, when characters like Snape and Rasputin come on screen. As for me (and many other fans), the wait for the movie Alice Through the Looking Glass has already started, because Rickman comes as a voice actor in it.
Image credits- Google